A woman's metabolism has a direct connection to her menstrual physiology. Even then, most women bother about it only when an irregular cycle gets in the way of family planning.
The functioning of the uterus is regulated by a few hormones like the follicle stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, progesterone and oestrogen.
The thyroidal hormones also play an integral role in the functioning of uterine system.
Missed periods or menstrual cycles could effect the functioning of the thyroid glands or vice- versa.
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Abnormal thyroid functioning can cause diabetes mellitus in the long run.
Of the many menstrual problems, the most common ones are PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrone) and endometriosis.
We have culturally prescribed regimesn of care for menstruating women, eventhough they have been increasingly overlooked.
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One such custom was to give a girl a preparation with raw eggs, gingelly oil and raw rice for a month upon menarche.
It is proven that these ingredients have an estrogenic action; gingelly oil has developmental and ovulatory effects.
Similarly there are many diets and regimes advised in Ayurveda, some of them are listed here (readers are advised to consult an Ayurveda physician before trying them out if they have any medial condition)
1. Sleeping on a hard surface
During the menstruation period, the lower back muscles will be loose and weak, hence chances for a slip disc or a catch happening are higher. Sleeping on a hard surface will provide a support to the back and will reduce the chances of an injury considerably.
2. Having brown rice or rice with the husk
This helps in ensuring that there aren't any constipation issues during this time, which develop into haemorrhoidal problems later. It also helps in replenishing the iron and B12 that is lost during the bleeding, thus helping to cope up with the tedium.
3. Avoiding sleep during the day, oil massages
During menstruation, the body will be worn out and the metabolic rate will be lower. The female body will not be able to handle excess sleep or pressure from oil massages.
4. Avoid extreme activities like running, jumping and long walks
The reason for spillage of the uterine tissue, which causes endometriosis, hasn't yet been confirmed. Many consider extreme activity as a main cause for this condition.
The muscles of the lower body, except the uterus, are in a more flaccid state during the menstruating days. Hence with standing for long hours, the blood pools down and fails to be circulated back to the heart causing varicosities.
5. Consuming turmeric ground with neem leaves
Having a mix of turmeric ground with neem leaves before the period day and during the course of menstruation will help reduce stomach aches and detoxify the body.
6. Bleeding post 7 days
Consuming milk boiled with the dried bark of ashoka (Saraca asoca) will help reduce the flow.
7. Avoid chilled food
Cold food items or a cold bath may increase the bleeding as well as affect the metabolic activity.
The ultimate aim of following this code is to give the body the necessary rest while keeping a watch on the metabolic activity.
It may not be evident from outside, but during menstruation there is an intrinsic hormonal interplay that is happening inside the body.
When neglected over a period of time, even slight disturbances such as change of place or weather could cause problems like irregular menstruation, uterine disorders, cysts or even cancer.
(The author is an Ayurveda doctor. You may reach her on email@example.com)